Why is Rudy Giuliani not in prison?
As a prosecutor in New York, Rudy Giuliani was a feared mafia hunter. As Mayor of New York City, he kept the streets safe and clean. After the attacks of September 11, 2001, he encouraged the city and gave consolation. The TV star Oprah Winfrey called him "America's Mayor" at the time. The Time-Magazine named him "Man of the Year 2001". When he left office in late 2001, he was one of the most respected mayors New York City has ever had.
Today he's Trump's watchdog, his fixer, his tidier. The man who clears the dirt out of the way as the US President's personal lawyer for Trump. And now it is on the verge of losing the last bit of reputation that it has built up over the years. Some say he has one leg in jail.
On Tuesday, House Democratic spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi formally launched preliminary investigations into impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump. According to the Democrats, Trump has forced the new Ukrainian President Volodomir Zelensky to initiate investigations against the promising Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son Hunter. Presumably to have something in hand against Biden in the election campaign.
Ukraine is dependent on US military aid. Without this, their fight against the Russian aggressors in eastern Ukraine would be hopeless. When the US president calls and asks for "a favor", the Ukrainian counterpart should have understood the implications of refusing the request. Abuse of office describes quite well what the Democrats are accusing Trump of.
The White House has now released a transcript of the phone call. And the multilateral complaint from a whistleblower who started the affair. In both documents one person appears again and again as the central figure: Rudy Giuliani.
Zelensky brought up his name first in the phone call with Trump. He hopes that Giuliani "will soon be able to travel to Ukraine," he says. Trump goes into it a little later: "If you could talk to him, that would be great."
Giuliani is a civilian. That could be a problem for him
It seems succinct. But the passages can still develop an enormous explosive power. The accusation against Giuliani: he interfered in sovereign matters without procuration. Negotiations with foreign governments are first and foremost the responsibility of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and in no way a civil person's task. Even if she happens to be the US President's personal attorney.
The fact that the US president may have asked him to contact the Ukrainian government doesn't make it any better for Giuliani. Quite a few experts consider his behavior to be simply punishable.
The matter seems to affect Giuliani. He made a memorable appearance on Fox News on Tuesday night. The right-wing conservative broadcaster, known as the Trump support platform, had invited Giuliani as well as a more liberal radio journalist who accused Giuliani of breaking the law. Giuliani went wild. "Shut up, you fool! Shut up, you don't know what to say! You idiot!" He roared.
Only hours before the gig she had Washington Post widely reported on Giuliani's role in the affair. It reads that, according to high-ranking officials at the State Department, the Biden investigation was grown solely on Giuliani's crap. A lot of people tried to prevent that phone call that took place on the morning of July 25th, reports one of the employees.
In the State Department and in part also in the White House, there were apparently fears that Trump could strain the complicated relationship with Ukraine. But they would have had no chance against Giuliani's whispering. A former White House employee told a reporter about The Atlanticthat this matter only escalated because "Rudy put shit in Trump's head".
That fits with the whistleblower's complaint. He had written that two high-ranking employees of the Foreign Ministry had spoken to Giuliani in order to keep the damage to national security as small as possible. They also helped the Ukrainian government understand the situation. And to react appropriately to the sometimes contradicting messages that she received from Giuliani on the one hand and from the diplomatic channels on the other.
Giuliani a national security risk? He won't let that sit on him. In interviews, he says it was the US State Department that instructed him to contact the Ukrainian government. He had informed the State Department of his every move. With which he indirectly also draws Secretary of State Mike Pompeo into the affair. It is hard to imagine that the steps of Trump's personal attorney were not brought to Pompeo.
Do text messages relieve Giuliani?
Giuliani continues to rail against the Foreign Office: "If they were so concerned about my activities, why did they ask me for help? Why did they send me lots of friendly text messages asking for my help or thanking me for my help ? " To prove it, he waves his phone on TV. And threatens that he will publish these text messages soon.
He presented two of these text messages on Fox News on Thursday evening. However, they only relieve him at first glance. In one case, it is US diplomat Kurt Volker who offered Giuliani his help in mid-July to find out more about the situation in Ukraine. In the next message, Volker offers to organize a joint telephone call with a confidante of Zelensky. That sounds more like Giuliani asked for support.
Giuliani seems to be preparing for nothing less than war. "Impossible that this whistleblower is a hero, but I am not!" Atlantic-Reporter. "I'll be the hero! Those morons! When this is all over, I'll be the hero! I should be praised for what I've done!"
Maybe he really believes that Joe Biden got his hands dirty in Ukraine. When Biden was Vice President under Barack Obama in 2014, he was also Obama's Ukraine representative. At the same time, however, his son Hunter was on the board of a Ukrainian gas company, the boss of which was involved in a corruption scandal. The matter sparked a debate at the time as to whether there might be a conflict of interest.
Giuliani and Trump are now telling the story that Joe Biden helped the then Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to dismiss the controversial Attorney General Viktor Schokin. And so to bury his investigations against the company and thus also against Biden's son Hunter.
The problem is: There is no evidence for this version.
It is true that Biden, together with other Western state representatives, has called for Poroshenko to fire the public prosecutor, who is considered to be highly corrupt. Even under threat of financial consequences. When Biden approached Poroshenko with this, the investigations against the gas company had long been concluded. Hunter Biden was never involved in the investigation.
Giuliani, however, who has already turned out to be a supporter of wild conspiracy theories in several cases, does not trust this. And goes on a mission. He wants to find three things in Ukraine: Evidence against Joe and Hunter Biden. Evidence that Ukrainian officials wanted to influence the 2016 US election in Hillary Clinton's favor. And evidence that information about shady deals was launched by Trump's former and now incarcerated campaign manager Paul Manafort from Ukraine.
Giuliani is setting things in motion for this. At the end of 2018, he spoke personally to the killed chief prosecutor Schokin. Giuliani also meets twice with Schokin's successor, Yuriy Lutsenko, once in New York at the end of January and once in Warsaw in mid-February. Nothing is known about the content of the meetings. However, it is noticeable that Lutsenko has made similar accusations against Joe Biden since these meetings as Giuliani and Trump.
Giuliani could have used his proximity to Trump
Then in April, shortly after Zelensky's election victory, Giuliani tweeted that Ukraine had investigated Ukrainian officials allegedly trying to influence the 2016 US election in favor of Hillary Clinton. In his complaint, the whistleblower writes that it was around this time that Giuliani's people first made contact with the upcoming new Zelensky government.
The suspicion is that Giuliani, thanks to his closeness to Trump, initially managed quite successfully to put the Poroshenko government on his conspiracy theories. In mid-May, however, Attorney General Lutsenko said he had found nothing incriminating against Joe or Hunter Biden. Which doesn't stop Trump from claiming a few days later that Biden worked towards Schokin's release to protect his son Hunter.
Lutsenko's testimony seems to have created a new urgency to discuss the alleged Biden case with the new Ukrainian President Zelensky. And to place the - well - "request" after new investigations. Which ended in the phone call that is now the subject of preliminary impeachment proceedings.
Before the phone call, the US government had frozen nearly $ 400 million in military aid to Ukraine for no reason. A step that Zelensky was not aware of at the time of the conversation with Trump.
During the phone call, Trump asked Zelensky to sit down with Giuliani in confidence. Like a mafia boss, Democratic MP Adam Schiff commented on the revelation. He is chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. And leads the parliamentary preliminary investigation for the impeachment proceedings.
Giuliani's loyalty to Trump may be unbroken. But Trump is not known to reciprocate if someone could harm him. When asked whether it was appropriate for Giuliani to interfere in government affairs in this way, apparently at his request, Trump does not stand behind his lawyer. He just says: "You have to ask Rudy." Giuliani is well advised to take this sentence as a threat.
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